There are probably more paleontologists out there than you’d expect. In my mind, it’s Dr. Grant, Dr. Satler, and whoever got off Isla Nubar before the storm hit, and everything went sideways. There’s not that many more of them in the actual world. A 2008 issue of Palaeontologia Electronica places the number of paleontologists at around 1,000. That number hasn’t skyrocketed since. Given how few people are out there looking, it’s even more impressive that they discover a new dinosaur species every week or two. Here are five dinosaurs found in the last decade.
5 Cool Dinosaurs Discovered After You Were a Kid
The scientific name means the mayor of titan town. Just kidding. The discovery took place in 2014, with the most in-tact skeleton found in Argentina on the property of the Mayo family (where the name actually comes from). Titanosaurs, the family the Patagotitan belongs to, are the biggest of all dinosaurs, and frequently found in Argentina. The skeleton on the Mayo property is over 122 feet long, almost half the length of a football field.
Scientists discovered an unbelievable specimen preserved by its final resting spot in a prehistoric river’s silty bottom. It’s a species of nodosaur, one of the armored herbivores that cruised across the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods unperturbed. How do we know it lived its life without hassle until sinking in a river? Because an armor of spikes covered its 2800-pound body, crowned by two-foot spikes on its shoulders.
In 2018, scientists discovered a preserved dinosaur tail in amber. If we don’t have Jurassic Park in the next ten years, what is science even doing with these discoveries? Also, are you starting to wonder what’s up with dinosaurs dying in these absurd ways? Did the dinosaur fall asleep, and tree sap covered its tail? What’s more, the tail’s covered in little feathers, supporting Dr. Grant’s theory that dinosaurs turned into birds.
This discovery took place in three separate incidents over 2019 and sounds like a very British way of doing paleontology. An English fossil hunter visited the Isle of Wight with his family and made the first discovery while walking on the beach. The second discovery happened the same way, to another scientist. The third discovery was a guy kicking rocks who realized that he was about to kick a dinosaur bone. Scientists categorized Vetaerovenator in the same family as the T. Rex and modern-day birds because its bones have hollow air pockets.
The crazy thing about being a “digger” like Dr. Grant is you never know what you’re going to discover. Like, a fossilized dinosaur embryo in an egg, revealing what a well-known dinosaur looked like as a baby. According to Science Daily, “Sauropod embryology remains one of the least explored areas in the life history of dinosaurs.” Which makes sense. You can’t declare your specialty is embryos and then spend your life digging, hoping to find another fossilized nest.